Question about Dell PowerEdge 1800 Server

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Powers On if I plug it in, and power supply fan runs...

The green power indicator flashes.

Then when I push the startup button, and after a few seconds I get a flashing orange on the larger indicator in front center. That is all, no sound, no screen, nothing else. When it was working, it would turn on the case fan for a few seconds, but that does not happen now. Nothing happens, but the flashing amber.

I did a test with a meter on a free drive terminal. I was getting just a matter of a few mv from the red and yellow wires. My understanding is that I should have found 5 an 9 volts on the wires. But the fact that the fan run fine on the power supply itself when I plug in the unit makes me wonder if until I actually push the startup, it is designed to provide only a tiny amount of power.

You think it is the power supply? What is the most inexpensive way to replace that if so? Thanks very much.

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  • fkalich Feb 05, 2009

    Thanks Strangyman. I took your advice and disconnected things. First the CD rom. And my computer powered on for the first time in hundreds of times over the past days. But only one time. I had no screen or keyboard connected, but the fans came on with the test it normally does on start up.

    But now I think the disconnecting the CD rom was just a coincidence, had no bearing, it just chose to power on at that one time. It has not powered on again. I noticed it try to start the two case fans a couple times, they just clicked on a split second. I have disconnected everything possible to try and isolate a short. I even removed both CPU's one at a time. I know little on these things, but I am left feeling it could be the start switch (I doubt it though), or maybe a fan short. Maybe it needs to test the fans before it will start up. I disconnected them and it still would not start. But maybe one is shorting and that stops the startup process. After that I would think short elsewhere, where I will never find it. Any further advice you or anyone can throw my way? Thanks.


  • Leacoda Feb 12, 2009

    Yes, I have the same exact problem one morning I tried to login and no screen appeared when i looked at the server an orange light was flashing. I powered the machine off only by pulling the plug but after powering up again still no POST. Then the hair pulling started I contacted DELL for a little chat session this machine went out of warrantee last year but DELL was very patient even after three or four sessions. I replaced two different main boards, replaced the power supply and next I will try the simple control panel. I have never seen this kind of problem in a computer before. I f I could find the CPUs to swap in I would do that but DELL doesn’t think two CPUs would fail together.

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Think of blinking amber as the initial state of the LED. As long as the system is receiving power from a power source and can pass that power through the system board to the LED on the Control Panel it should, at least, blink amber. As a result, a blinking amber Power Button LED is a reliable indicator that the system is receiving power from a power source. This, in turn, tells us that the source and power cord are likely to be functional. The Blinking Amber LED also tells us that the power supply to system board connection is good as well as the connections between the system board, I/O Panel and Control Panel. Depending on the components installed and the condition of those components, the LED may progress past blinking amber and move to solid amber. If the LED does not progress past blinking amber it indicates that the system is not able to properly distribute power to the system components. This is discussed in the next section of the interaction.


It does not indicate that the power supply is bad. It simply indicates that, for whatever reason, one of the power supply 'rails' is not operating within its specified range or, simply, that there is a short somewhere in the system.
The LED state could be the result of a misconfigured or incorrectly installed system component. A bad drive, for example, may be shorting out one of the rails. Incorrectly installed memory can cause a blinking amber front panel power button LED.

Posted on Feb 05, 2009

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